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Wei Guangqing Ancient Scriptures Wall text

Sun Tzu The Art of War / Zhu Family Instructions / The Book of Family Names 2008-03-04

Sun Tzu The Art of War (Sun Zi Bing Fa)

In this series from 2005, Wei Guangqing employed 13 woodblock prints from The Art of War by Sun Tzu such as 'Calculations', 'Doing Battle', 'Planning Attacks'. However, he transferred these treatises and rules of war into new cultural symbols as decorative backgrounds. This was intended to emphasize the new and complicated relations within globalization between China, a nation with a long history and rich traditions, and the rest of the International Community.

Sun Tzu on the Art of War (Sun Zi Bing Fa) was written during the late Spring and Autumn Period ( more than 2,500 years ago). It was the earliest, most complete and famous military book from our ancient times. The book played an important role in the history of Chinese military which gave the militarists, politicians and philosophers a very far-reaching influence. It was translated into a dozen different versions and famous as "The Bible of Military".

Zhu Family Instructions

In this series from 2006, Wei Guangqing uses colorful diagonal stripes and marks (extracted from bar codes) as the background upon which he places the illustrative images from the ancient book of morals titled Zhu Family Instructions. Though he uses totally different color combinations in every work, they all apparently point to the modern developing China that should pays attention to ethics, ideals, economics, and politics in the age of globalization. He thereby incorporates the ancient literature into contemporary time and context.
Zhu Family Instructions is a meritocracy about family ethics and cultures in ancient China which made people understand the standard of morality, decency and propriety. It was used by Zhu Bolu (A Chinese ancient philosopher 1627-1698) to educate his children. He taught them to content with their lot, to be diligence, thrift, to be friendly to others, and to respect the elders. He also told the ancient ideals to his children with simple words.

The Book of Family Names
In this series created in 2007, Wei Guangqing made the traditional woodblock prints in the ancient Book of Family Names the narrative symbol in his works. These prints tell the stories of the famous ancient figures that carried these family names, as well as the ethic tenet of these surnames. On the contrary, the bright-colored Chinese characters of modern Chinese family names are visualized as backgrounds to the traditional black & white prints. The apposition of these two strengthens the general effect of the paintings, i.e. the contrast between the ancient and the contemporary.

The Book of Family Names was once a primary school teaching material which was edited by a scholar in Qiantang (now Hangzhou) during the early Northern Song Dynasty. It became the most popular and widest spreading book for children. It made the common surnames of Chinese into sentences with four words each poetically like a poem. So it was still remembered today and had a deep influence to us. The Book of Family Names once collected 411 surnames and was supplemented to 504. Among them, 444 were single-character surnames and 60 were compound surnames.

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